Twenty years ago this week, Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects opened in theaters, and everybody lost their minds. It ended up redefining the “twist” ending, becoming a kind of shorthand for a left-field, eleventh-hour plot development that reconfigures everything that’s come before. But it was neither the first nor last movie to do that ending, or do it well. …Read More
M. Night Shyamalan
I recommend Wayward Pines with some hesitation, and not just because I spent the majority of the first five episodes trying to figure out what the hell was happening on Wayward Pines. Fox’s limited, ten-episode event series is a bizarre one, which isn’t surprising for an M. Night Shyamalan project, and it only gets weirder as it digs itself deeper, ultimately evolving into a somewhat different show by the fifth episode. Premiering Thursday, it’s a series that requires patience and demands that viewers stick around for the whole season — even if you may want to check out early.
After a protracted production period, a series of cancellations and restarts, and a lengthy conversation over racism and representation, Disney’s big-budget, big-screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger landed in theaters over the holiday weekend, and the results weren’t pretty. Its five-day domestic gross was a mere $48.9 million (with just under $30 million more coming in from foreign markets), meaning that the Mouse House is going to take a real bath on the picture — its budget was somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million, and that’s before its substantial marketing and distribution costs. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, that means we’re only halfway into summer movie season, but we’ve already seen three very high-profile belly flops. What’s going wrong?
Hollywood royals Will and Jaden Smith are in a whirlwind of promotion for their sci-fi film After Earth, written by the elder Smith and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The eccentric father-son duo graces the cover of this week’s New York magazine for a bizarre discussion about their relationship, their approach to fame, and scientific theories that revolve around a nondescript theme of “patterns.” Author Claire Hoffman steers the interview in a questionable direction from the start and is quick to ask the two about their religion, probably in hopes that they’ll talk about Scientology.
This week marks the DVD and Blu-ray debut of Safe Haven, the critically drubbed Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring that girl from Dancing With the Stars and that dude from the Transformers movies. Normally, this would not be worth noting! But there’s something else that’s special about Safe Haven: it’s got one of the most utterly bananas crazy “twist” endings you’ve ever seen. Ever since The Usual Suspects blew everyone’s mind in ’95, and The Sixth Sense followed suit four years later, moviemakers have been trying their damnedest to create shocking third-act reveals that change everything we’ve seen before, and send us out of the theater reeling. Instead, most of them are befuddling, laughable, or just plain stupid. Here are a few examples (with a rather obvious spoiler alert).